“Res” means “subject matter” or “dispute” and
“judicata” means “adjudged”, “decided” or “adjudicated”
“Res judicata” means “the thing has been judged” or “a dispute decided”
The doctrine of res judicata is based on three maxims:
nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa (no man should be vexed twice for
the same cause);
interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium (it is in the interest of the State that there should
be an end to a litigation); and
res judicata pro veriate occiptur (a judicial decision must be accepted as correct).
3. Scope of Res Judicata
This doctrine of Res Judicata is a fundamental concept based on public policy and
private interest. It is conceived in the larger public interest, which requires that
every litigation must come to an end. It therefore, applies to civil suits, execution
proceedings, arbitration proceedings, taxation matters, writ petitions,
administrative orders, interim orders, criminal proceedings, etc.
4. Pre-Requisites For Applying Principle Of
Res Judicata :-
1) The matter must be directly and substantially in issue in two suits;
2) The prior suit must have been between the same parties or persons claiming
3) Such parties must have litigated under the same title in the former suit;
4) Subject to the provisions contained in Explanation VIII, the Court which
determined the earlier suit must be competent to try the later suit or the suit in
which such issue is subsequently raised;
5) The question directly and substantially in issue in the subsequent suit should have
been heard and finally decided in the earlier suit.
5. Actual & Constructive Res Judicata
A matter is actually in issue when it is in issue directly and substantially and a competent Court
decides it on merit.
A matter is actually in issue when it is alleged by one party and denied or admitted by the other.
(Expl.III to S.11)
A matter can be said be constructively in issue when it "might and ought" to have been made a
ground of defence or attack in the former suit (Expl. IV to S.11)
Workmen, C.P. Trust Vs Board of Trustees AIR 1978 S.C. 1283,- When any matter which might
and ought to have been made a ground of defence or attack in a former proceeding but was
not so made then such a matter in the eye of law, to avoid multiplicity of litigation and to bring
about finality in it, is deemed to have been constructively in issue and, therefore, is taken as
6. DIFFERENCE- Res Judicata & Res Sub
Res Sub Judice
It applies to a matter pending trial (sub-
It bars trial of a suit which is pending
decision in a previously institute suit.
It applies to a matter adjudicated upon
It bars the trial of a suit or an issue, which
has been decided in a former suit.
7. Difference between Res-judicata and
Res-judicata & Estoppel
1. Origin: It results from a decision of the Court.
Estoppel flows from the act of parties.
2. Basis : The rule is based upon public policy, viz that there should be an end to
litigation. It bars multiplicity of suits.
It proceeds upon the doctrine of equity; that he who by his conduct, has induced
another to alter his position to his disadvantage cannot turn round and take
advantage of such alteration of the other's position.
3. Affects the jurisdiction : It ousts the jurisdiction of a court to try a case and precludes an enquiry
In other words, estoppel prevents multiplicity of representations.
4. Stop the Party: It prohibits a man averring the same thing twice in successive litigations.
It is only a rule of evidence and shuts the mouth of a party.
5. Binding effect on party/parties: This rule presumes conclusively the truth of the decision in the
former suit. It binds both the parties to a litigation.
Estoppel prevents him from saying one thing at one time and the opposite at another. The rule of
estoppel prevents a party from denying what he has once called the truth. i.e. estoppel binds only that
party who made the previous statement or showed the previous conduct.
9. Res Judicata and Estoppel
In the case- Bhanu Kumar Jain v. Archana Kumar SC 2005 (1) AWC
Res-judicata debars a court from exercising its jurisdiction to determine the law
suit if it has attained finality between the parties whereas
The doctrine of issue estoppel is invoked against the party. If such an issue is
decided against him, he would be estopped from raising the same in the later
10. Writ Petition and Constructive Res-
The question whether the rule of constructive res-judicata can be applied to writ
petitions, was first answered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Amolgamated
Coalfields Ltd. v. Janapada Sabha AIR 1964 SC.
It held that “In our opinion, constructive res-judicata which is a special and artificial
form of res-judicata enacted by Section 11 of the code should not generally be
applied to writ petitions filed under Article 32 or Article 226.”
This refers to plaintiff's duty to bring forward
all the grounds of attack in support of his
This refers to both the parties i.e. Plaintiff as
well as Defendent and precludes a suit as
well as defence.
Or 2 R2
This requires the Plaintiff to claim all reliefs
flowing from the same cause of action.
This refers to only to the Plaintiff and bars